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Nordic Prosody

Proceedings of the XIIth Conference, Trondheim 2016

Edited By Jardar Eggesbö Abrahamsen, Jacques Koreman and Wim van Dommelen

This volume contains articles based on the presentations given at the Nordic Prosody XII conference, which was held at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim, Norway) in August 2016. The contributors investigate various prosodic aspects, including intonation, rhythm, speaking rate, intensity, and breathing, using approaches ranging from phonetic and phonological analysis to speech technology methods. While most of the studies examine read speech, some of them explore the prosodics of spontaneous speech. The languages that receive most attention are Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic as well as Estonian, Latgalian and Polish. In addition to the larger Nordic languages, several papers focus on regional languages spoken in these areas.

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Rhythm in Estonian Swedish (Eva Liina Asu / Francis Nolan / Susanne Schötz)

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Eva Liina Asu, Francis Nolan, Susanne Schötz

Rhythm in Estonian Swedish

Abstract: Estonian Swedish is a variety of Swedish traditionally spoken on the western coast and islands of Estonia and now confined mainly to an elderly emigrant community in Sweden. It retains a number of archaic segmental features of Swedish, lacks a word-accent contrast, and has been influenced lexically and grammatically by Estonian. It has also been described as being rhythmically distinctive. We explore the hypothesis that it may be intermediate between Swedish (as represented by Central Swedish from the Stockholm area) and Estonian. Results are given for segmental, syllabic, and foot-based variants of the PVI (Pairwise Variability Index) rhythm metric, and Estonian Swedish is discussed in the context of other languages.

1. Estonian Swedish

Estonian Swedish is a variety of Swedish traditionally spoken in Estonia. It is the result of settlement there by Swedish speakers from at least as early as the 12th century. Swedish speakers were concentrated mainly on the islands off the west coast of Estonia and on the north-west corner of the Estonian mainland. Before WWII the Swedish speaking population in Estonia, though a minority, was self-sustaining, numbering around 8000, and enjoyed recognition by the Estonian Republic (1918–1940). However, faced with the imminent occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union, a substantial part of the Swedish-speaking population accepted an offer of refuge in Sweden during the winter of 1943–44. Today, although there are no exact...

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